This month the CF: G team got to catch up with Martin Osborne, one of our amazing community Instructors from one of our leading sponsors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Martin recently finished teaching on our Spring/Summer 2016 community courses, and has taught on a number of our London Community courses prior to this. We were keen to hear more about Martin's experience as an Instructor and his career in tech, read on for the full low down....
Hi Martin, thanks so much for joining us! You’ve got an impressive career trajectory in the technology sector. Could you tell us a bit more about your current role at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML)?
I’m working on Quartz, which is our firm-wide risk and pricing framework. Specifically on building out the core cross-asset risk functionality to calculate risk measures across our markets businesses.
Martin, what do you most enjoy in your job?
Working to design and build our next generation of trading and risk systems makes it a really exciting time to work at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Financial markets are evolving at a rapid pace and the regulatory landscape continues to shift. Our technology must work consistently and efficiently across diverse markets. We’re developing technology that streamlines the process for our clients and helps us compete and comply in the marketplace. I love solving problems and developing solutions that make a big impact for clients around the world.
How did you first hear about CF: G?
BofAML proudly sponsors CF:G and we have partnered on various events. We recommend CF:G courses to students interested in working in technology, who don’t yet have a technical degree. That’s how I got involved.
Why did you decide to become a volunteer instructor?
I wanted to support CF:G in increasing the number of women working in technology. We’re committed to influencing young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs and consider careers in technology.
Additionally, the topics covered on the web course are becoming increasingly important. Teaching them is a great motivator to further my own knowledge, and to learn from the other instructors.
What do you most enjoy about teaching on the courses?
Probably the most interesting part of the course is seeing what the students do with the technology they have been introduced to. The amount of time we’re able to spend actually teaching is pretty small compared to a more formal programming course. We encourage students to experiment outside of the classes, and to use existing APIs and frameworks to get things working quickly. It’s very rewarding seeing what they build after being pointed in the right direction.
Have you found transferable skills between being an instructor and the work you do at BofAML?
Definitely. I spend a lot of time at work either explaining concepts and ideas to colleagues, or working to understand their requirements. Communicating technical ideas, especially to those who are not developers themselves, crosses over to my role as an instructor.
One of the most interesting aspects of instructing is that students often bring designs they would like to implement. Frequently these are ideas for startups that have a technical component. The process of working with them to figure out what is possible, and in what timeframe, given the resources available, is very similar to how we work at BofAML.
What advice would you give to CF: G community who want to pursue careers in technology & entrepreneurship?
There’s no substitute for hands-on experience. We always encourage the students to find something ‘real’ they want to work on, as opposed to spending too long on artificial exercises. Good examples are a personal or society website, an app supporting a dissertation or coursework project, or a startup / business idea.
The process of working on something will force you to address technical problems, and can often be a catalyst for new ideas.
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